The Friday Five for 28 July 2023
Categories Blog Memes & Asks Personal

The Friday Five for 28 July 2023

Answers to last Fridays thefridayfive questions from

1. When did you recently have the feeling, “Life is good.”

It’s been more than a decade. I don’t remember ever feeling/thinking that since I got ill.

2. Which do you need more, routine or spontaneity?

I’d say both. I need more routine when it comes to house hold stuff such as vacuuming. But I should also try to be more spontaneous. It’s just that most of the unplanned things in my adult life have been negative, not positive, so I don’t trust unplanned things.

3. Do you have a difficult or annoying neighbor?

Not right now. There used to be a sometimes-annoying neighbor who’d blast music and talk by shouting literally until 4am (sometimes until 7am) occasionally; no one slept those nights in my building. But that hasn’t happened in a year or so now *knock on wood* Maybe they’ve moved away?

4. What do you want to change about yourself?

The things I actually want to change about myself I can’t because they’re the effects of my illnesses… such as being exhausted all the time, and doing things being difficult because of it. I want doing things to be less energy sucking and easier.

5. What do you like best about where you live?

That it’s safe (both as in I don’t need to fear other people for the most part, and we don’t have natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes), and my town has a good public transport system.

The Friday Five for July 21, 2023 – Dreaming
Categories Blog Memes & Asks Personal

The Friday Five for July 21, 2023 – Dreaming

This week’s questions over at thefridayfive@DW is about dreams.

1. What was the last dream that you had about?

I’ve been seeing a lot of dreams again the last week or two. Usually 6-7 different dreas per night, but the only one from last night I remember is one about quicksand. The setting was a farm or a small community or a village in, like, the middle ages, and one day we suddenly realized that the quicksand nearby by the had dried up. While we were circling the quicksand area, trying to figure out why it had happened, people and animals drowned in the quicksand started to emerge from the sand, right as rain. One of the first was a pig which run away. At that point I woke up.

2. Does it hold any significant meaning to you?

I don’t think so. I’ve never seen it before (I have several repeating dreams). It’s also not a sequel or a prequel to any other dream.

3. Do you dream in color or black and white?


4. What is the most frightening dream you ever had?

I’ve never been scared by my dreams. They’re like the action/adventure/scifi tv shows and movies I love to watch and I never get scared by them. Some dreams are weird and don’t even have that dream logic, but none have frightened me.

5. Is there one dream that stays clear in your mind despite the fact it was more than a few years ago?

I have 4 or 5 such dreams, but the oldest of them is the elevator dream. I dreamed it many times in my teens… so 30+ years ago. In it, I enter the apartment building I lived the majority of my child/teenhood until early adulthood, step into the elevator and press the button for our level which is 3. But the elevator doesn’t stop at 3 and I think, oh okay, somebody’s called it to the top floor (5) – I’ll just get off there and walk two stairsways down to get to our level. But the elevator doesn’t stop at level 5 either – instead it goes through the roof of the building and shoots into the sky and keeps rising and rising and I can’t do anything. I wake up at this point.

I’ve always figured that dream meant I felt out of control in some way of my life. Later it occurred to me that it might have been to do with that my father was ill (brain cancer), and for about a year before he died, we knew it wouldn’t get better and he would die, that it was just a matter of time. It’s just that I can’t remember exactly when I started having this dream – was it before or after my Dad’s death? Because I can’t think of anything else in my life at that age that would make me feel out of control of my life.

The other dream that sticks particularly clearly with me I dreamed repeatedly in my early 20s and is a sort-of-but-not-really superhero dream. In it, I’m in my grades 3-6 school with other the other kids, when suddenly the teachers hurry everyone inside from the rocky play area, and lock all the doors and windows of the school. Teachers don’t know why, just that a general threat alert has been given and that everyone should go inside. A long time is spent waiting for what happens next, and guessing what is going on. Then a red poisonous mist descends outside, and the teachers tell us that the X-Men are fighting an enemy – it’s never clear whether it’s aliens or other mutants or what – and that only mutants can survive in the red mist. I wake up around this point of the dream. I kept seeing this dream maybe a dozen times throughout my 20s. The X-Men are obviously inspired by my reading the X-Men comics a lot in the 1980s/90s, and the red mist by the original tv series V and V: The Final Battle.

Jo’s Daily Questions – July 17-31, 2023
Categories Blog Memes & Asks Personal

Jo’s Daily Questions – July 17-31, 2023

Jo over at Dreamwidth put together a list of daily questions for 2023 again  😀 Here’s my answers to the rest of the July questions.

17 – Tattoo Day: Do you have any tattoos? If yes, how many, what and where are they? If you don’t, would you ever consider getting one? Is yes, where on your body would it be, and what would you likely get tattooed? If no, why not?

Nope. Sometimes I entertain the idea of getting a small, delicate flower tattoo on my wrist. But whenever I think about it being forever for all purposes and practises, I think I won’t want to watch the same thing the rest of my life.

18 – World Listening Day: Rather than simply listening to other people talk, World Listening Day was created to draw attention to the way humans need to be listening to the world around us, including environmental awareness, soundscapes and acoustic ecology. What does the world around you sound like right now?

The fan is on. My backdoor is open because to get some fresh air in, and there’s some playing children sounds coming in from the yard. And also some metal work sounds from whatever is being done in the next apartment block or the childcare facility. They’ve been working there for about two weeks now, starting around 6.30am. There’s metal works sounds, and truck sounds, and other bizarre sounds but no people sounds and it’s all so weird. I think it’s the childcare facility, I’ve been trying to look while waiting for the bus but the trucks etc. move around so much that I’m ot sure whether it’s the apartment building or the childcare facility that’s having something done. Or it could also be the City doing municipal maintenance, upgrading or something.

19 – Daiquiri Day: Do you drink daiquiris, or any other cocktails? Do you make your own at home or are they something you reserve for an evening out at a restaurant or other social event?

I don’t drink alcohol. All of them cocktails, with alcohol or not, cost more money than I want to spend on what is basically juice or soda. Honestly though – I would like to try a fancy mocktail some time! It’d have to be a special special occasion though! Like getting permanent disability, retiring or winning millions in the lotto. Something good that happens only once in a life time! Continue reading Jo’s Daily Questions – July 17-31, 2023

Categories Blog Fountain Pens & Ink Memes & Asks

Fountain pens and inks blanket box

Fountain pens and inks blanket box

What is a blanket box?

A blanket box is a collection of questions and prompts for you to use how you want. The intention is to help you create content for your fort, as well as to connect and share with your followers. Specifically, the blanket box format involves using this template to make a new post of your own, rather than replying in the comment section here.

The theme of this blanket box is fountain pens and inks. You can find more blanket boxes, with a wide variety of themes, in the BlanketBoxBox community.

maiji@pillowfort created a “Fountain pens blanket box”:


Tell us how you got into fountain pens/inks.

Around 2018. Because ballpoint/rollerball pens kept drying on me after about three weeks of use. When that had happened three or four times in a row, I started looking around. I originally searched for gel pens because I had had one that I loved, but for some reason none of the shops near me, even the big department stores had any gel pens at the time 🙁 And googling good pens kept leading me to fountain pens, and fountain pen inks, and I eventually ordered one to try it out. I’d never seen a fountain pen in real life much less used one, so it was weird and exciting – I didn’t know they were still a thing elsewhere!

What’s your collection like? How do you organize your collection or information related to your collection?

Most of my fountain pens cost about 35 euros (TWSBI Ecos, PenBBS), I also have a handful that cost 5-25 euros (Jinhaos, TWSBI Swipe and Lamy Al-Star) and three that cost up to 69 euros (TWSBI 580, Nahvalur Key West – Las Curidas – the violet one CultPens sells – and the TWSBI Eco Smoke & Rose Gold). I don’t really want any of the truly expensive pens, although I wouldn’t say to to Sailor Spring Rain (what gorgeous colors!). I prefer European nib sizes M-1,1 stub, so although the PenBBS pens are so pretty and write so well, I don’t use them a lot. I did buy them the RM nibs from PenBBS but even those aree too fine for my taste. I didn’t know this about myself when I started, and everywhere fine nibs were recommended. Also, my handwriting is rather bigger than a lot of other people’s seem to be, looking at their pictures, so my writing just looks better with larger nib sizes.

Currently I’m pretty satisfied with my collection. There are one or two pens I’m considering buying maybe later this year, maybe. These are all Hongdians on Etsy/Aliexpress and one Wancher that been out-of-stock for at least three months so I’m not sure if it’ll restock or not. But I’ve been feeling happy with my collection for about six months now as far as pens go.

The only pen I’m disappointed with is the TWSBI 580 ALR Punch Pink. I just don’t like it – the piston is difficult to use, the M nib writes like an F (I think – too narrow, anyway!) and I don’t even like it when I switch the 1.5 stub nib on. I’ve tried it with several of my most favorite inks and… nope. I just don’t like it. The pen is a pretty color and the nib is easy to switch but those two are about the only things I like about it.

Uninked pens I keep in a pen cup at my desk. The inked pens are in the small container on the sofa table because I usually write at my sofa and this keeps them within easy reach.

The only list of my pens is in my head, it suffices thus far. I do keep an ink record – which ink is put in which pen on what date. I sometimes have 7-8 pens inked and I found out quickly it’s impossible to remember which pen has which ink and when it was filled the last time.

You’re given a fountain pen to test out. What would you typically write or doodle? Show us!

My name, Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow and various wavy lines and squicklies. Maybe some lyrics or a my favorite poem, or some aforisms to see how it’ll write longer pieces.


Your first pen

My first pen was an PIlot Metropolitan Retro Pop Turquoise (the European version). I didn’t love it and never really used it. It was a fine nib (because all the guides said to go for fine nib for every day writing) but for me it was too fine – I didn’t like the width of the line it did, but I thought it wrote really well and smoothly. It was just too fine for me, and it also never felt comfortable in my hand, like it was too small. So I noticed after about 6 months that it sat at the bottom of my drawer. Disappointed I didn’t think about fountain pens much for the next year or so, and went back to frustrating ballpoints. But was I was still really curious fountain pens and still had same the original problem which had led me to look at fountain pens. So I decided to try a Lamy Al-Star which was the other pen experienced users recommend to new users. So I got one and I loved it! I went with a medium nib and that was so much better, and European medium’s now my favorite nib.

About two years or a year and a half ago I gave the Pilot Metropolitan to my Mom, who’d never used a fountain pen with a converter/cartridge capability, only a dip one apparently when she was a kid in the 1940s/50s. She likes it and the fine nib is suitable for her handwriting which is much smaller and finer than my own. I’m glad that the pen didn’t go to waste!

Your newest pen

TWSBI Eco Persian Green with 1.1 stub nib (I also got an extra M nib for it at the same time so I can switch nibs as desired). I now have 5 TWSBI Ecos – I just love how they write, and love the colors. I got them mostly in M nibs but also two B nibs, and now that new 1.1 stub. I’m going to get an F nib at some point too, just to see if I’ll like it any better than the other (Chinese) F nibs.

A pen you’re currently using

I’ve got about half of my pens inked, if not more. Five TWSBI Ecos, one Jinhao x450, one Nahvalur and one WSBI 580 and one TWSBI Swipe. M nibs, two B nibs and one 1.1 stub. These are the pens I’m currently using:

Your “essential” pen (e.g., everyday carry/EDC, favourite pen, etc.)

The TWSBI Ecos! They never dry up even if I haven’t touched them in a couple of months. Ever since COVID-19 started I haven’t had to carry pens often (I have one or two gel pens in the top pocket of my backpack for incidental needs but that’s all) because all the activities I was required to participate in either by healthcare or the unemployment office shut-down and then I was on sick leave for a year so I didn’t need to. But the next time I’ll need to do writing out and about in any sort of regular fashion, I’m taking one or two TWSBI and a Jinhao 82 because that ones M nib is finer than European one so it should work better on random papers. And if the TWSBI Swipe is as good as i’m expecting, that too!

Your “fanciest” pen

I think of my Nahvalur Key West Las Coloradas fountain pen as my fanciest – it’s so very pretty too! Luckily, it also writes like a dream 😀

What tends to catch your interest when it comes to pens? e.g., drawn to particular colours, features, types or sizes of nibs, brands, etc.

Colors and patterns! I love pretty colors and colorful, patterned resins. My PenBBS pens are the most prettiest along with the Nahvalur Key West Las Colaradas. I love the Las Colaradas’ violet color and the sparkles the resin body has.

I love many of the Sailor pen color combinations, but the cheaper ones don’t come with nibs sizes I like (and honestly, they also don’t look as great) and that ones that do, are like 350USD which I can’t even dream of buying (like the Spring Rain), and even if I could afford it no problem, I’m not at all sure I could justify paying that much for a pen!

I also admire the artists who decorate the Maki-e pens – such artwork on such a tiny, round canvas! I love looking at them, so skillfully painted. But they are more art than functional tool, and certainly prices say so (1000+ USD). Wancher does have one line of Maki-e fountain pens that are only 79 euros so I don’t think those are hand painted or something, but they’re very pretty but have been out-of-stock in the only EU fountain pen store I’ve seen them at.

I’m also always curious to see what new pens or colors the brands are coming out with. The selection of nib sizes is important to me – it’s it available only in EF or F, I won’t consider buying them no matter how pretty they are.

These are the rest of my pens:


An ink you’re currently using

As I said, I have several pens inked at all times. Currently I’m using Pilot Iroshizuku “Kosumosu” and “Yama-Budo”, Sailor “Yamadori”, Sailor Ink Studio “224” and “731”, Diamine “Cerise” and Organics Studio “Copper Turquoise”.

An ink you love

Of the above ones: Kosumosu, Yamadori, Copper Turquoise + J. Herbin “Violet Pensee” and “Rouge Grenat”, Pilot Iroshizuku “Murasaki-Shikibu” and “Kon-Peki”, Diamine “Spearmint Diva” and KWZ “Cherry”. There are others but these came first to my mind.

An ink name that stands out to you

All the Japanese ones in the Pilot Iroshizuku and Sailor lines, and J. Herbin’s French ones!

What tends to catch your interest when it comes to inks? e.g., drawn to particular colours, features/characteristics, brands, etc.

Color – I’m partial to reds, violets, interesting blues. Not dark colors but more like pink or light violet, but not light enough to be pastel. I love shading, and appreciate sheen. But maybe in a way one is that ink should flow well! I don’t think I’ve like any ink that reviews say is particularly dry. So I’d say I like lubricated inks.


hare a fountain pen/ink related tidbit. (Examples: a show or local shop that you love; something you made with fountain pens/inks; a personal memory or story related to pens/inks.)

All my writings are personal (such as diary of my illness symptoms or random fanfic tidbits) that I’m not comfortable sharing. But I can tell this: I learned to bind pamphlets because I needed notebooks with Tomoe River paper, and could only get loose leaf TR paper for a bit during COVID-19 restrictions. I love making them but I don’t use them up fast enough to be able to make them as often as I’d love to! Pics of two I’ve made:

My great sorrow is that we don’t have fountain pen shops in Finland. Some physical bookstores may or may not have some very limited selection of fountain pens, but it’s usually like only Montblanc or only Lamy or only Kaweco and not all models/colors of those either. Some online stationary stores maybe have Kaweco fountain pens, if any, and a few online/physical art stores have small selection of mostly Diamine inks. I’ve only ever bought two Diamine inks here in Finland, when a local physical art store had them for a short while. So I order from UK (before Brexit always, since only twice) and EU online fountain pen stores such as and Fountainfeder does ink samples so that’s great and makes me happy 😀

I LOVE ink samples! I was so sad when online stores removed ink samples from the offerings post-Brexit and during COVID-19 even though I understand the reasons why. I’ve avoided buying so many inks that I didn’t like when I tried them by being able to get samples of them first to try instead of a full bottle.

The Friday Five for 7 July 2023
Categories Blog Memes & Asks Personal

The Friday Five for 7 July 2023

This week’s questions over at [community profile] thefridayfive 

It’s summer here, so I’m answering for summer!

1. How’s your summer (winter) going so far?

The con side – my sleep disappeared somewhere in mid-March when it got bright and sunny out. Have been sleeping poorly, or not at all, ever since despite having blackout curtains both in my bedroom and living room. Can’t wait for the dark fall so I can sleep again!

Otherwise summer’s been okay so far. We’ve only had one heat wave so far which lasted about 1,5 weeks. That time was hard but otherwise the weather’s been how I like it – not too hot in shade, a fresh breeze even if there’s no clouds and sun is shining but also often half-cloudy. Fingers crossed it’ll continue like this!

2. Have you made any special summer (winter) plans?

Nope. Other than enjoy as many and as much summer foods as I can.

Other thing I’d like to do is visit Mom a little more. I don’t do it as often as I used to because I don’t have a car anymore, and the bus trip and the time visiting easily amounts to so much that I often end up with a migraine attack once I’m back home. And I’m also tired a lot because of being in pain a lot. The summer before last was too hot to go anywhere (three months of unrelenting heatwave which is not normal for Finland). And Mom and her SO have been getting tired easier too the last few years (age and illnesses that required doctor’s appointments a lot last year) so that too. But now both of them are through their operations, have recupareted and feeling better. So maybe I could visit a few times over the summer this year. I WhatsApp and talk on the phone a lot with Mom, but it’d be great to see her in person too!

3. What are your traditional activities in summer (winter)?

Hiding from the sun and the heat.

4. Are there special summer (winter) foods or drinks you’re enjoying?

I eat obscene amounts of ice cream and ice lollies. Also lots of strawberries as-is with cream, or with ice cream, or with whipped cream and mud cake (the last one is a special treat). Also make some rhubarb pies and rhubarb soup to be had cold.

5. What is one thing you need to do this summer (winter)?

There’s nothing I “need” to do that I know of as I write this… but your never know with the bureacracy of being chronic illness patient on unemployment. KELA or TE-toimisto might want to decide to want something at any time!

Otherwise, I’d like to buy garden scissors with those long handles where you can cut crass and other growths with them while standing up. But they’re pretty expensive for my budget so I’m not sure if I can talk myself into using some of my tax return for that purpose. Either way, I should cut the growth. It’s not crass, other bigger stuff that I don’t know the name of, the sort of things you’d find in a meadow more like because it used to meadow where these houses were built. I just hate cutting with my current scissors, because I hate kneeling/crawling in the ground because I can’t get back up on my feet easily and so I don’t do it and so my tiny little backyard (about 1 meter + 2 meters) is overgrown. It’s just that this overgrowing has started to bother me the last couple of years, and now I think when the backyard is cut, it looks so neat and tidy. Before I didn’t care. Now I sort of do. But you have to cut it so often that I don’t do it because I have to get on my knees every time.